Miyazaki’s Perfectionism

Seasons greetings everyone and welcome to the Otaku Mind. If you haven’t heard already Miyazaki the man himself is coming out of retirement one more time to do another movie. This time CGI. While everyone including myself is excited about this, the people who are probably worried the most is the crew who will be working with him. Now we all know Miyazaki is an amazing director, creator, and I’m sure a nice and respectable person, but he’s notorious for being a man who is hard to please. Because of this Miyazaki gets a bad rep as being a person who is a perfectionist but is that really true? Is everyone’s favorite director of animation a perfectionist? Let’s talk about this.

Now I have to admit Miyazaki can be a very tough critic not only on others but on himself. A good example of this is when he criticized the first movie of his son Garo. He said he found the movie boring but at the same time gave his son credit for his passion. Another example is that Miyazaki admits he didn’t like his movie Porco Rosso. Personally, I thought it was okay but for Miyazaki he didn’t like it. He doesn’t go into much detail why he didn’t like it, he just simply called it a foolish movie. The most likely reason is because it had many things in it that weren’t really explained all that well or just didn’t make any sense at all. He also goes on record saying that he doesn’t like going back and watching his old movies because he keeps seeing all the mistakes and flaws he made and will often start working on his next project in order to keep himself from thinking about his previous movie and letting it drag him down. I have to admit as a blogger I kind of get where he’s coming from. Every now and then I go back and take a look at my old work and see what I did right and wrong and usually I come out of it with more negatives than I do positives. I find myself saying I should of said this, done that, talked about this scene more, focused on this character, explained why this such a big deal, etc. but I really don’t get hung up over it. I just say okay, I’ll do this next time and move on. Miyazaki does tend to get hung up on the littlest of things at times but I view that as more of a sign of passion.

If you watch his movies there’s no denying that Miyazaki is very passionate about what he does and you can see as well as feel it. In his earlier movies the characters were a bit unrealistic and absurd but as you progress through his movies you start to see them become more realistic and his philosophies on life become clearer and more focused. There’s a documentary on Spirited Away and there’s this one scene where Miyazaki is giving instructions to the young staff about Haku. In the scene he talks about how Haku in his dragon form falls down the vent but doesn’t land on the ground like a human but instead attaches himself to the wall like a gecko. When he falls, he falls like a snake and holds his position because that’s what a snake does when it falls to the ground. Man, that’s a lot of attention to detail. It may sound like something basic to us but to an animator this is some complicated stuff and the funny part about this scene is that the staff really can’t get a picture as to what Miyazaki is talking about. But that’s what Miyazaki was like. He goes all out in his work because he loves what he’s doing. While it’s true Miyazaki has said some harsh things about the anime industry over the years there’s no doubt he has a love for animation and a great passion for it. He believes that if you’re going to do something, give it 100% and yeah I can get behind that. I’m not just going to write a half-ass blog and just post it on the internet, that be insulting to you guys and to me. I take it seriously, I set aside time to watch a number of episodes each day, write about them, come up with jokes, look for clips, check for spelling errors, read over it, and then post it. I think that’s why Miyazaki has a negative outlook on the anime industry. While there are some good animes out there and the people who work on them are hard workers, there are still some people in the industry who can be lazy and make a lot of mistakes story-wise and animation wise that it can quickly go from annoying to frustrating to downright insulting. I can tell you from experience finding mistakes in Miyazaki’s work is hard because it’s so easy to get lost into it because it’s so good. On rare occasions I’ll watch his work and find something that’s easy to point out but more often than not I really have no complaints with his work. Miyazaki is just one of those guys that when he wants to do something I’ll go all out and he wants the team to have the same amount of passion as he does or at least go all out like he is. Is that unreasonable? Somewhat, nobody is born the same and while I probably won’t reach the level of passion as Miyazaki has I do admit that going all out in whatever it is you’re doing is a must and if you’re going to be lazy and slack off than it’s best if you get out now and find something else to do.

So yeah Miyazaki is a perfectionist there’s no denying that but he’s not a bad perfectionist in my honest opinion. A bad perfectionist is someone who is hung up on his/hers past work and can’t let it go. A good perfectionist is someone who sees his/hers mistakes from their previous work, learns from it, and moves on to make their next work better. Like I said before I don’t consider myself a perfectionist but I do go back and read my own work to one, get a good laugh, two, see what I could of done better, and three, to learn from those mistakes and make my next work better. Miyazaki is a good perfectionist because he’s passionate about his work and strives to make it the best he can possibly make it and wants everyone else to strive for that as well. While he may be harder on himself than he really needs to be he doesn’t let it drag him down in his next work and it’s his way of showing that even after all these years of creating masterpiece after masterpiece from our perspective in his mind he still thinks he can do better and that we deserve to see something better. I really do think that if everyone had Miyazaki’s passion in the anime industry and strove to go above and beyond the expectations of what everyone set for them the landscape would be a lot different than what it already is.

Well those are my thoughts. What are your thoughts on Miyazaki’s perfectionism? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.

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